This letter was addressed to R. Chanoch Hendel Havlin, one of the members of the Lubavitch community in Jerusalem.

B”H, 6 Elul, 5706

Greetings and blessings,

In response to your notification of the bar mitzvah of your son, Eliezer: I extend my blessings that your raise him (— see Kiddushin 30a [which interprets the phrase] “while your hand guides your son” as applying until the age of 22 according to one view, or 24 according to another; the approach of the Alter Rebbe in Hilchos Talmud Torah, ch. 1, sec. 6, seemingly requires clarification for he appears to accept the stringencies implied by both positions; this is not the place for discussion of that subject —) to Torah [study], marriage, and good deeds amidst prosperity in both spiritual matters.

There are opinions which explain that the concept that a youth becomes obligated in the observance of mitzvos at age 13 is derived from the conduct of Shimon and Levi1 (Rashi, Nazir 29b; see also the mishnah at the conclusion of ch. 5 of Avos).

It is possible to explain [that the following allusions can be drawn]. At the outset, the observance of mitzvos at one’s bar mitzvah:

a) involves a war with one’s body and animal soul, for they have a prior claim;2

b) the intent is to draw down [G‑d’s] infinite light into [the body and the animal soul] and into the material substance with which the mitzvah is performed;

c) it is possible to be victorious in this war, because the Holy One, blessed be He, grants assistance; “Were the Holy One, blessed be He, not to grant assistance, [he could not overcome his evil inclination].”3

These [concepts are alluded to by the names]:

Shimon — his Divine service is on the level of hearing,4 not sight5 (see Likkutei Torah, the beginning of Parshas Vaes’chanan; the conclusion of Kuntreis HaAvodah, et al).

Levi — the intent is that he will accompany6 G‑d’s infinite light to this earthly plane (see Torah Or, the beginning of Parshas Vayechi).

Eliezer7 — he will be victorious even though the yetzer [hara] struggles powerfully, for “his G‑d will assist Him,” enabling him to “grow continually greater until he is exceedingly great.”8

* * *

In response to your letter:

a) With thanks from the depths of my heart for your endeavors to fulfill my requests with regard to the yahrzeit of my revered father and teacher;

b) The collection of sichos from the Rebbe Rashab was printed in mimeograph and in a limited quantity. Therefore it is not governed by the ordinary financial guidelines of our publishing house. Its price is [$]10 and [$]8 for yeshivah students.

c) [You wrote that] you saw [books from] our publishing house [in Eretz Yisrael]. These were probably from a limited number of texts that were purchased here for cash and sent to [Eretz Yisrael] on the responsibility [of the purchaser]. In such a situation, it is understandable that better conditions are given. [The right to] sell the Responsa of the Tzemach Tzedek for one year was sold to a bookseller here on the condition that he send them to Eretz Yisrael as well.

d) I was directed to clarify the location of the contract and the deed to the house and estate in Chevron owned by my revered father-in-law, the Rebbe Shlita. (What has been received here is merely the deed of purchase in the name of the Rebbe Rashab.) Please make a copy of them, keep the copy, and send the originals to my revered father-in-law, the Rebbe Shlita. The more expediently the matter is attended to the better. From the outset, I offer my thanks.

With the blessing “Immediately to teshuvah, immediately to Redemption,” [and with blessings for] a kesivah vachasimah tovah in spiritual and material matters,

Rabbi Menachem Schneerson
Chairman of the Executive Committee